ASK A COP — What speed is allowed to pass on a 2-lane road

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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Geo asks: Lets say I’m traveling on a two-lane road (one lane going each direction) where the speed limit is 70 mph and the vehicle in front of you is traveling 60 mph. Would it be legal or illegal if I accelerate momentarily above the speed limit with enough clearance to safely change lanes to any oncoming vehicle. Is this behavior considered “OK” in Texas or would I be breaking the law.

Answer: Remember last week’s answer from the Texas Transportation Code 545.351, which states “An operator may NOT drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.” This is a wonderful question because I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard the excuse, “I was just passing someone.” My rule of thumb when driving is “if I’m passing other vehicles on the roadway, I need to check my speed.” Because one of two things will be for sure, either they are driving way under the speed limit or I’m driving over the posted limit. If you decide to pass a vehicle, you are allowed to pass within the maximum posted speed limit. So if the vehicle in front of you is going 60 mph and the speed limit is 70 mph, you don’t have to feel like a turtle on the road. Because state law still allows you in this situation to still go up to 10 mph faster than the vehicle you are passing. We all know we can’t control another driver. It’s a full time job keeping our driving behavior is check.

Chris asks: My coworker Bobby was behind an 18-wheeler truck as we approached an intersection. He didn’t really see the light until he was under the intersection, and to his disbelief, it was RED. Yes, Bobby ran a red light. Would Bobby been given a ticket because he couldn’t see the light because the size of the 18-wheeler that was in front of us?

Answer: It appears Bobby was simply following too close behind the large commercial vehicle in front of him to see the traffic signal ahead. There are no actual footage numbers given in the Texas Transportation Code for safe following distance. Many motorists make the mistake of giving the same traveling distance behind an 18-wheeler as they would give to a Toyota Corolla. The question that should linger is exactly when did the traffic signal turn RED. It’s a real possibility the 18-wheeler disregarded the traffic light, as well, because trust me I’ve had to stop and issue citations to many commercial motor vehicle drivers who disregard red lights. From now on, give some room to clearly see what’s going on when traveling behind large commercial vehicles.

Heather asks: Can a driver of a car receive a ticket because of bad brakes? My friend has brake problems with her car. Her car stops, but the brakes have to be pumped to function correctly. I’m afraid to drive her car, but she seems to manage just fine. We are on different ends of the spectrum about whether this is legal or not. Is it legal or illegal to drive a car with bad brakes?

Answer: If I were you, I wouldn’t dare ride in your friend’s vehicle until she has the brakes repaired. You can receive a citation for operating a vehicle with defective brakes. Brakes are a very important part of the vehicle that must be functioning correctly to prevent injury or death on the roadways of Texas. When we are driving, we are moving several tons of metal at various speeds. A proper working brake system is a top priority. Strongly urge your friend to stop playing Driving Russia Roulette. Just because the brakes worked at this intersection doesn’t mean it will work at the next intersection.

Join Me, Officer Antoine and the CREW Stephen “Buzzard Boots” Mosley, Lelo “mouth of Hwy 69/73” I Washington and Tejas “Lil Man”Morning Star for Ask A Cop live on KSAP 96.9 FM The Breeze every Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. You can also tune in via Call in live at 409-982-0247. Email questions to, call 409-983-8673 or mail them to: Ofc. Rickey Antoine, 645 4th Street, Port Arthur, Texas, 77640. If you see me in public, you are always free and comfortable to approach and “Ask A Cop!”